TN: 1982/89/90 Lynch Bages

So last night we had a small wine dinner, and Al told us there would be a common element in the three red wines he would serve with dinner. After several blind alleys, U-turns, and slamming of brakes, it finally turned out that it was a mini-vertical of Lynch Bages. The wines had been decanted about 2 hours before we first tasted them. Here are my impressions, from memory, based on their order of service:

  1. 1990 Lynch Bages. A gorgeous wine from the get-go–full, rich, yet balanced, with a lot of dark fruits and slight earth/lead pencil. Initially, the richness of the fruit suggested Right Bank from a ripe vintage, but we ultimately circled back and found the maze exit. Overall, I think there was a slight consensus that this wine was drinking best of the three right now, and there is no hurry to drink it.

  2. 1989 Lynch Bages. This wine seemed like the odd man out, and initially it really tasted nothing like the other two. A lot more smokiness vs. the 1990 and 1982, with more obviously acidity and firmer tannins. But in terms of its size and structure, it wasn’t as “big” as other bottles of 1989 LB that I’ve had. It did pick up more steam as it sat in the glass, but once it was revealed it reinforced my view that the 1989 LB is a long way from maturity.

  3. 1982 Lynch Bages. Trying to figure out the vintage of this one was difficult; in some ways it drank a little bit younger than the 1990 (at least, at first). But the color was just a touch lighter, and as the evening wore on, the fruit dried up just a bit. Still, it was very close in overall quality to the 1990, and one of the six of us preferred it to the 1990. My impression is that the wine is fully-mature; I don’t expect it to improve with additional cellaring.

A very enjoyable dinner and parlor game. Al said that he had acquired all bottles on release, so they’ve been stored essentially identically since he bought them.


Real interesting, Bruce, thanks for sharing. The '89 Lynch Bages is definitely a wine apart and will go for a good long while, IMHO.

Thanks for your notes Bruce, it’s always nice to get reports on wines that I own. I haven’t had the 82 or 90 in years but I had the 89 a number of times and found it to be a young wine with quite a future ahead of it. It’s a wine I buy whenever I can get it for a discount.